Big jolt to Cong as its OBC face Alpesh Thakor resigns

Big jolt to Cong as its OBC face Alpesh Thakor resigns

 Prominent OBC leader from Gujarat and MLA Alpesh Thakor quit the Congress on Wednesday. (Image courtesy ANI/Twitter)

In a major setback for Gujarat Congress ahead of Lok Sabha polls, its popular OBC leader and Radhanpur MLA Alpesh Thakor resigned along with two other associates, who are also Congress MLAs, from the party.

Thakor announced his decision on Wednesday evening, ending the speculation of his resignation continuing from several months.

 Thakor is a popular Other Backward Caste (OBC) leader in north Gujarat where his caste has been dominating the Lok Sabha polls, particularly in Patan and Banaskantha seats. Thakor was also a secretary of All India Congress Committee. In a letter addressed to state party president Amit Chavda, Thakor announced his resignation from all the posts.
In a press conference, Thakor also declared that his two aides and party's MLAs Dhavalsinh Zala from Bayad constituency and Bharatsinh Thakor from Becharaji, have also resigned from the party. However, none of them have resigned as MLAs. While announcing the decision, Thakor denied that he is joining BJP. Incidentally, BJP president Amit Shah is scheduled to arrive in Ahmedabad in the evening and is likely to hold meeting with several leaders of different communities.
Thakor added that he will be campaigning for his outfit "Gujarat Kshtriya Thakor Sena" candidates who are contesting from Banaskantha Lok Sabha seats and Unjha by-poll in Mehsana district.
Thakor is among three youth leaders including Hardik Patel and Dalit leader and independent MLAs Jignesh Mevani who had immensely contributed to Congress's resurgence in the 2017 state Assembly polls. Wednesday's development comes after his outfit "Gujarat Kshatriya Thakor Sena" declared to cut its ties with the Congress for good. With three fresh resignation, Congress tally in the state Assembly has come down to 67 from 77.
Sources said that Thakor was "negotiating" with Congress for Lok Sabha ticket from Patan seat which was denied. Further, even in his outfit "Thakor Sena" dissent was emerging against him. "For the past two months, Alpesh Thakor had been lobbying for Lok Sabha ticket for his wife instead of his loyalists in his outfit. This made them unhappy and threatened him to choose either Congress or the organisation. That's why Thakor Sena fielded its man to contest from Banaskantha Lok Sabha seat against Thakor's wishes," said a source. Earlier, Thakor had reportedly sought "a ministerial birth for himself" for joining BJP which didn't workout.
Congress leaders had been trying to pacify Thakor and his outfit. Election in-charge Rajiv Satav had rushed to Banaskantha on Tuesday. During the press conference, Thakor claimed that neither party's national president Rahul Gandhi nor Satav had time to listen to him.
Gujarat is scheduled to go to polls on April 23 for all the 26 seats.

Following resignation of Thakor and allegation that tickets are sold in Congress, party's state president Amit Chavda rejected the accusation. He said "We haven't received any official letter yet. It is only through the media that we have come to know. I want to say that these allegations are not only baseless but also unfortunate. The language he has used in the letter and in the press conference about our senior leaders are most unfortunate. We indicted him and his aides in the party in 2017 due to their social work. We gave him respect and so many posts in the party. Once we get the letter officially, we will decide the course of action accordingly."